Geoff's Notes

Fri, 02 May 2003

Aloha all,and that's saying more than you think when you begin to understand the nuances of the Hawaiian language. It is not just lovely to listen to but rife with meaning. Got here with no hitches in thirteen hours from Logan on Monday, and checked into the Radisson Waikiki Prince Kuhio Hotel. A fine joint, I assure you, and just two blocks from the beach! Next morning we gathered at the Bishop Museum (the Hawaiian Collaborator on this project) to rehearse after our two week hiatus. Before we did anything else, Noelani Tachera led us to a small garden for a ceremony wherein she sang a request that we visitors be welcomed. Within this ritual "protocal" visitors may offer a gift (which I was unprepared to do, though I wish I'd brought some Ocean Beach sand). Tobias Vanderhoop placed some tobacco on the sacred stone and sang a Wampanoag honoring chant. Then we all joined in a thank you song as best we could. Despite my dis-ease at not knowing the language or the ritual, I can tell you that the moment was powerful, and presaged others in the last two days. The revival of native language, dance, song and ritual is a moving force in the lives of the people I am meeting here, and though still a fairly small voice within the context of a very commercialized O'ahu culture,it is heard. Yesterday and today our performances were specifically for students in total Hawaiian immersion programs. Yesterday we sang for about one hundred kids (1/3 of the school) at Pu'ohala Elementary. Today, it was for the entire K-12 at Anuenue School (about 200 students in all). In each case, Noelani sang a request for us to enter, and ALL the kids sang the response. I assure you the power of this oral tradition gives me chills.
Outside our performances, which have gone very well, we spent yesterday afternoon at a Swap Meet outside Aloha Stadium, a massive flea market literally surrounding the stadium, and today, while others played in the surf, I went into the hill to find some bird. Tonight we head for an ava bar, but I'll tell you about that next time!

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